Everyone goes insane eventually. And then they belong to the terrifying Red Mask! Batman #133 continues “The Bat-Man of Gotham” as Bruce begins to wage his battle against this city gone mad in a new spin on Batman.
Overall, I haven’t been much of a fan of this storyline. In the main attraction, Bruce is in this alternate world where Gotham is controlled by Red Mask. Then, in the back-up, Tim is searching for Batman attempting to bring him home.
Together, the two stories work and work well, but writer Chip Zdarsky overall delivers a story that feels like we’ve seen over and over. All that changes are the details. Here, the hints of who the Red Mask might be is the most intriguing aspect of it all, as we see the character use some powers against Selina which tied to what Bruce discovers as he exhumes a body, teases the villain’s identity.
And, as I said, that’s the most interesting aspect. Bruce debuts as this world’s Batman and is given some help to stop Red Mask, but overall, the comic feels like it’s a video game tie-in more than the main Batman title. It doesn’t feel like anything particularly new or different. Give us a peaceful world where Batman isn’t needed and let us watch Bruce lose his mind, that’s something that’s new and hasn’t been done before.
The art by Mike Hawthorne is good. The action is fine but the color by Tomeu Morey pops in certain moments. Hawthorne is joined by Adriano Di Benedetto on ink and lettering by Clayton Cowles and the detail and design of the world is more interesting than anything else. Batman’s makeshift costume, the buildings of Gotham, the story they tell stands out more than the paces Bruce and Batman are put through. There’s almost a tiredness about it all, a city and reality that wears on the people living it.
Zdarsky also gives us the attempt to get Bruce back in the third part of “The Toy Box.” Miguel Mendonca provides the art with Roman Stevens on color and Cowles on lettering. Overall, the story is ok. It’s a little rushed as Tim Drake is in the world of Toyman attempting to not just capture the villain but also rescue the individuals kidnapped by him. It’s a quest as opposed to a story, delivering scant details, though it’d all be worth to expand it further as it’s actually interesting and somewhat horrific.
Batman #133 has solidified my thoughts on this arc, the main story and back-up are flipped. The comic should feature Tim and Jon Kent’s attempt to find and rescue Bruce as the main draw. A story of a “rescue” of Bruce from an actual ideal world could have been a bit more interesting than Bruce again finding he needs to don the cowl in an alternate world to dispense justice. Overall, an entertaining, though overall ho-hum arc so far.
Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Mike Hawthorne, Miguel Mendonca
Ink: Adriano Di Benedetto Color: Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle